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When the going gets tough!


Tough City


You may have noticed that it's been a little quiet around WLA in recent days. That's mainly because I've quite ill and most of my symptoms revolved around a blinding headache. But this too shall pass or actually, has passed! The doctor has given me a clean bill of health and I'm back at my keyboard. So let's have a bit of a catch up story then.



New York was all about MIDO launching their new Inspired by Architecture piece, namely the world famous Solomon P. Guggenheim Museum. The building was one of the last works of architecture guru Frank Lloyd Wright, with the completion and opening of the building coming six months after his death. The timepiece reflects the composition of the museum's skylight dome and rotunda in a tasteful way. In that sense, MIDO has done an outstanding job as they go into 2018 which will be their centennial year.



Tough ideas and tough city


But what'd I'd like to point out though is that even today, the Guggenheim Museum is a controversial design. Do Google it (the original in New York, not the sister museum in Bilbao, Spain) and take a look at the design. You don't have to be a student or fan of architecture to quickly note that the design is totally unique. It is an upside down spiral and visitors of the art museum are taken on a journey up or down the various exhibits on the sloped walkway ramp.


The centre is then a huge atrium or empty space. So on one hand, you have the popular view that the building is a work of art displaying art without being conservative. On the other, you could argue that the building steals the attention away from the art and does not utilise the space efficiently. So it's my hope that whoever does get one of the limited edition pieces from MIDO evokes this debate of what is architecture? Is it a design to serve or a service to design?



My time in New York also opened up some curious thoughts about how design influences a good many things in our modern lives. And this includes bad designs! For instance, New York as a city is known for its block system of building. Unlike all the organic cities like Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Yangon, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City etc, New York is very organised and very manmade. Except when it comes to traffic. The reason for this is the one way system in most parts of the system is dependant on the smaller streets feeding into the large avenues. Because you can legally park on both sides of these streets, cars are left with only one lane!


You can also add the many gorgeous buildings built nearly a hundred years ago. Monumental designs and picture postcard but unfortunately built at a time when electricity was still in its infancy. So you don't get the typical wiring which allows modern but electric dependant life. It's the city that never sleeps but God help you if you need a smartphone charge anywhere downtown!



Tough class act


After I got back and when my health started giving me issues, I had the great opportunity to go to watchmaking school in my native Malaysia. The Swatch Group school hosts international students who are supported by the group,s o in other words - no one is allowed in unless invited. I'll be writing my experience with building movements in detail in another story but I'll leave you with this insight: "A mechanical watch movement is a delicate thing with many moving parts. It mimics life in a way. It's best to treat it gently and carefully and to try to understand what you're doing if you are taking action."


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